Current Issue

STEM Education News

April 18, 2014

In This Issue:

TC News
Remembering Triangle Coalition Founder John M. Fowler

Triangle Coalition founder John M. Fowler, 88, of Silver Spring, MD, died peacefully in his home April 8, 2014. An early pioneer in the advancement of science, technology, engineering and mathematics education, John’s immense contributions leave a strong legacy to the field now known as “STEM.” John was passionate about science education and obtained his doctorate in Physics from Johns Hopkins University in 1954. He taught at Washington University in St. Louis; the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor; and the University of Maryland, College Park.

In 1958, John and a group of fellow scientists played a leading role in the formation of the Committee for Nuclear Information (CNI), drawing attention to the health hazards of radioactive fallout from nuclear explosives. Public concern, based largely on efforts of CNI and similar groups, led to the adoption by the U.S. of the Limited Test Ban Treaty in 1963. John frequently lectured on the radiation hazards of nuclear weapons testing, and he also testified before the U.S. Senate. He was the editor of one of the earliest books on the subject: Fallout: A Study of Superbombs, Strontium 90 and Survival.

As his career progressed, John became increasingly interested in improving science teaching and won awards for his teaching and for his leadership in designing programs to advance the teaching of Physics. John was director of special projects at the National Science Teachers Association from 1974-1994 and is the author of the textbook Energy and the Environment. In 1985, he founded the Triangle Coalition for Science and Technology Education, an innovative nonprofit seeking to reform science and technology through advocacy and the establishment of partnerships between government, industry, and educational groups at the local and national level. John retired from the Triangle Coalition in 1994, but the organization continues to advance its mission, and John’s vision, to improve science, technology, engineering and mathematics education in the United States.

With respect and gratitude for friend and founder John Fowler, Triangle Coalition sends its warmest regards and condolences to John’s wife of 39 years Kathryn “Kay” Fowler, his 8 children, 13 grandchildren, and brothers Earl and Jim.

Triangle Coalition staff in 1991 with John M. Fowler (middle in a yellow jacket).


Member Spotlight
New NCTM Publication Moves Math Education Principles to Actions

New Orleans, La., April 10, 2014—Continuing its tradition of mathematics education leadership, the National Council of Teachers of Mathematics (NCTM) has released Principles to Actions: Ensuring Mathematical Success for All to define and describe the principles and actions, including specific teaching practices, that are essential for a high-quality mathematics education for all students.

Principles to Actions gives all stakeholders the ideas, the research, and the actions they need to dramatically improve mathematics education,” said NCTM President Linda Gojak. “It outlines the productive practices all teachers should adopt to improve their students’ mathematics learning, and it describes practical steps that math specialists and coaches, administrators, policymakers, and parents can take to support a high-quality mathematics education.”

This landmark publication builds on NCTM’s Principles and Standards for School Mathematics, published in 2000, and the Council’s previous standards publications, and it supports implementation of the Common Core State Standards for Mathematics (CCSSM). Full article


AEF Spotlight
Albert Einstein Fellow Nominated for International Astronautics Medal

The National Aeronautics and Space Administration nominated Diedre “Dee” Adams, 2008-09 Albert Einstein Fellow, for the prestigious 2014 Frank J. Malina Astronautics Medal. Each year, the International Astronautical Federation (IAF) awards an educator who has made outstanding contributions to promoting astronautics and space science education. Each IAF member organization may select one nominee per year. Adams, a 34-year middle school science teacher from Indiana, served her Einstein Fellowship in NASA’s Office of Education where she also became certified to transport moonrocks.

Since her fellowship, Adams continues to teach and inspire students and the public in the space sciences. In addition to teaching in her classroom, she travels to schools and other locations across the United States with NASA moonrocks, educating people about the importance of aeronautical engineering and space exploration. Outside of school, Adams also works to encourage young women in pursuing engineering, climate change studies and other advanced STEM fields.

“Dee is an educator who has demonstrated excellence in taking the fullest advantage of the resources available to her to promote the study of astronautics and related space sciences,” wrote James Stofan, Deputy Associate Administrator for Education Integration at NASA, in the nomination letter. “Over her 34-year career, she has engaged, inspired, and educated tens of thousands of students and learners throughout the United States.”

The 2014 medal recipient will be recognized in the fall at the International Astronautical Congress. Learn more about the Frank J. Malina Medal here.


Twenty-Four Grantees Announced for Youth CareerConnect Grants

Last week, President Obama announced 24 grantees—in 18 states and Puerto Rico—will split a total of $107 million in Youth CareerConnect (YCC) Grants.  The YCC program, supported under the Departments of Labor and Education, is designed to prepare high school students for high-tech careers through a competitive grant process that partners secondary schools with higher education institutions as a way of preparing students for the job market and attracting, and expanding, local business.  The President’s announcement of the 24 grantees was accompanied by skepticism that many of the grants targeted areas that have seen supported strategies for improving career and technical education (CTE) versus truly fostering new innovative partnerships.  The President asserted that the YCC program will help American students “out-work and out-innovate and out-hustle” students from around the world.

The White House YCC Fact Sheet describes that the program’s partnerships are designed to deliver: robust employer engagement and work-based learning; a focus on high-demand industries, including STEM; and integration of post-secondary education and training. For example, through YCC grant partnerships in Prince George’s County, Maryland, students will have access to paid work experiences with partners including Lockheed Martin, and the ability to earn college credit during high school and professional certifications in the healthcare fields. Overall, the county anticipates that YCC will help prepare 2,500 graduates to succeed in the high-demand fields of information technology and health care. Read more about Youth CareerConnect Grants and the other 23 recipients here.


Alliance for Excellent Education Calls for Support of Broadband in Schools

The Alliance for Excellent Education (AEE), though a campaign called 99in5, is calling upon policy makers and the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) to modernize and expand E-rate, the program that provides discounts on internet access to schools and libraries. The goal of 99in5 is to ensure that 99 percent of schools in the United States have adequate broadband access within 5 years. AEE is currently seeking support for a petition to bring stronger broadband connectivity to schools through:

  1. Increasing funding to bring America’s classrooms into the digital age;
  2. Simplifying the program to make it more accessible and efficient;
  3. Upgrading it to put more of a focus on modern technology like broadband and wireless.

“Digital learning’s potential to improve learning will not be realized without robust and reliable internet connections in schools and classrooms. We have an opportunity to tell policymakers at the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) how important broadband access is to realizing this potential for all students,” states Gov. Bob Wise, AEE President. Please sign the petition here.


Legislative Update
New Changes in the House Education and Workforce Committee

Last week, Democratic Members of the House Education and the Workforce Committee held an organization meeting to elect new ranking members. Read about the changes in the Legislative Update.